Recently, I was given the opportunity to watch and review Ron Newcomb‘s, Rise of the Fellowship. The film is inspired by the classic J.R.R. Tolkien novel, Fellowship of the Ring; and follows a group of friends who adventure their way across the country in order to seek justice and redemption! I thought the film was great and really captured the essence of the Tolkien classic, with a very modern spin on Fantasy as well as a good ‘ol fashioned road trip film.
Newcomb is a self-proclaimed geek in his own right. A bit of a jock growing up in High School, he would sneak away after classes and meet up with his friends to play Dungeons and Dragons. His love of Lord of the Rings and filmmaking took him on the journey to see Rise of the Fellowship finally come into fruition. Below, is what he had to say about his upcoming labor of love.
Casey: How long have you been working on Rise of the Fellowship?
[box_light]Ron: Since 2007 it’s been an epic journey. My business partner, Scott Mathias, and I wanted to make the film ourselves so we started going after investors at a time when the market went south. We kept the cost low by picking up our own Red Camera and had an idea of where we wanted the budget, and ultimately where it ended up. One thing was when writing it, we also had the Lord of the Rings Online game in mind. We worked with the video game developer, Turbine, and they bent over backwards and accommodated us in every way. It got a little tricky when Warner Bros. bought LOTR, we had to pitch the game idea again, but they worked with us and we got that game footage in the film. [/box_light]
Casey: How is the marketing on the film going as your film comes out in December and The Hobbit comes out the week later. Coincidence?
Ron: The film was done a year ago, and wanted to put out when first hobbit came out. Our investors convinced us to put it out this year, and we’ve been itching to get it released. It’s finally coming out on VOD, Amazon, Walmart, and iTunes.
Casey: As you were writing ROTF, did you always have yourself in mind for the role of Stan?
[box_light]Ron: My first love is acting and we auditioned so many people for that role. As we were auditioning, I was the one acting with the lead actor and it just kinda fit. I love acting the guy I picked as Stan turned it down, so I ended up playing him.[/box_light]
Casey: How was coming up with your own original ideas, as well as mixing it with the Tolkien material?
[box_light]Ron: You have to reach the right blend. Peter Jackson didn’t put Tom Bombadil in his film, and we had a chance to mix in Tom Bombadil, Elrond, and Tree beard. Our main characters jump between Merry, Pippin, and Sam. Only in filmmaking can you write it one way, and then the actors make it their own. Through the filmmaking process the actors had their own ideas and like the Nazgul and others. [/box_light]
Casey: Which one is more like you?
[box_light]Ron: I do see myself in a lot of the main characters, but I’m probably more like Stan. I have a younger brother and I’m a jock on the outside but I would go to my friends and play Dungeon and Dragons[/box_light]
Casey: What kind of budget did you have for the film? I saw a lot of your friends and family in the film.
[box_light]Ron: In the independent film world you kinda do some ‘gifts in kind’ Marketing. We had a budget of $3mil. Actual money making the film was $500K . A lot of my family members didn’t think it was a “real movie”; until they got on set and saw how professional it was. Then, they started to participate and get involved with everything. My dad even did Craft Services on the movie.[/box_light]
Casey: Are you guys going to more take the film to conventions and upcoming Comic Cons.
Ron: We’re going to move forward from doing the public screenings. We’ve taken it around so many times this past year, our final screening will be at MagFest 2014.
Casey: What special features and extras can we expect from the DVD?
[box_light]Ron: We live in that age where we don’t just buy the dvd’s for the movies, we want those extra cookies. We have several behind the scenes, cast interviews, and certain sequences explained. Justin Moe (Randall) edited the majority of the BTS sections. One sequence we call the ‘300’ Shot, which involved the paintballs. We filmed it like they did in 300. We did a True Film School 101 just on that scene alone.[/box_light]
Casey: What do you have coming up next?
[box_light]Ron: The film is the opposite of the “one ring.” It doesn’t want to be made. you have to fight it and then follow it through it’s life. I did recently start to think what to do next, and I thought of the strider shot in LOTR. That character is so iconic and I wanted to explore that more. We’re going to work on a web series called The Rangers. Four Rangers on the frontier who find a reawakened darkness. A fantasy series, bringing in Jedi slant. We will explore their world and just who The Rangers are. TheRangers.mymiddleearth.com [/box_light]
I can’t wait to check out Ron’s next project and you know we’ll keep you posted here at DFAT as we get more news on The Rangers. I can’t thank Ron enough for the interview and the chance to watch his film. He’s truly a fantastic guy and a great director and I know he’s going to be around for years to come!
Rise of the Fellowship is produced by Phase 4 Films and you can pick it up the DVD or Bluray on Dec. 3 at Walmart, VOD, Amazon, and iTunes. Check out the amazing trailer below and support Truly Independent Cinema!